First FCC nay on sat merger


The XM-Sirius score has changed at the FCC. It's Yes 2, No 1.

Regarding the satellite radio merger, Democrat Michael Copps has added his negative vote to the two positive ones registered by commissioner Robert McDowell and chairman Kevin Martin, both Republicans.

Now, XM and Sirius are considering just how far to go with concessions in order to sway the two remaining commissioners.

The companies already have agreed to freezing subscriber rates for three years and giving about two dozen channels over for minority and public broadcasting, but that apparently has not been enough to encourage the remaining two commissioners — Democrat Jonathan Adelstein and Republican Deborah Taylor Tate — to make a decision.

The commissioners can revoke their electronic votes and change their minds as the situation unfolds and, in fact, their votes thus far are not even a matter of public record.

The matter is not on the agenda for the next FCC meeting scheduled Aug. 1, but it doesn't need to be in order for the FCC members to finally approve or knock down the XM-Sirius merger. As of Tuesday, the FCC has been officially considering the matter for 409 days.

The Justice Department has already given its OK.

The latest wrangling at the FCC coincided with XM's release of second-quarter financial data. The company added 322,000 subscribers for a total of 9.7 million while losing $119.6 million, down from a loss of $175.7 million in the same quarter last year.

XM said its revenue rose 15% to $318 million. (partialdiff)